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referred to their respect ve Committees on Territories; but the accompanying Memorial from the Free-State Legislature, setting forth the grounds of the application, and praying for admission as a State, was, after having been received by the Senate, reconsidered, rejected, and returned to Col. Lane, on the allegation that material changes had been made in it since it left Kansas. The Senate, in like manner, rejected repeated motions to accept the Constitution, and thereupon admit Kansas as a Free State-there never being more than Messrs. Hamlin and Fessenden, of Maine, Hale and Bell, of New-Hampshire, Collamer and Foot, of Vermont, Sumner and Wilson, of Mass., Foster, of Connecticut, Seward and Fish, of New-York, Wade, of Ohio, Durkee and Dodge, of Wisconsin, Trumbull, of Illinois, and Harlan, of Iowa, (16) Senators in favor of such admission, and these never all present at the same time.
Mr. Stephens's substitute, as thus amended by its adversaries, was abandoned by its original friends, and received but two votes-those of Messrs. George G. Dunn, of Indiana, and John Scott Harrison, of Ohio-Nays, 210.
Mr. Dunn had previously moved a reference of the bill to the Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union. This was now defeated: Yeas, 101; Nays, 109.
Mr. Jones, of Tennessee, now moved that the bill do lie on the table, which was defeated. Yeas, 106; Nays, 107; (Barclay of Pennsylvania, Dunn of Indiana, Haven and Williams, of New-York.-Yeas: Bayard Clarke, of NewYork, Hickman and Millward, of Pennsylvania, Moore, of Ohio, and Scott, of Indiana.-Nays: Scott Harrison, of Ohio, not voting, Wells of Wisconsin, absent). The House now refused to adjourn by 106 to 102; and, after a long struggle, the final question was reached, and the bill rejected: Yeas, 106; Nays, 107.
So the bill was lost.
In the House-the aforesaid Constitution and Memorial having been submitted to the Committee on Territories-its Chairman, Mr. Grow, July 1st.-Mr. Barclay, (Dem.) of Pennsyl of Penna., from a majority of said Committee, vania rose to a privileged motion. He moved reported in favor of the admission of Kansas a reconsideration of the preceding vote, by under such Constitution, as a Free State; and which the Free-Kansas bill had been rejected. after debate the Previous Question thereon was A stormy debate ensued, in the midst of which ordered (June 28th) by a vote of 98 Ayes to Mr. Howard, of Michigan, rose to a question of 63 Noes. Previous to this, however, Mr. Ste- higher privilege (as affecting the right of a phens, of Georgia, had proposed, as an amend- member [delegate] to his seat) and submitted ment or substitute, a radically different bill, the report of the Kansas Investigating Comcontemplating the appointment by the Presi-mittee (already given). The Speaker sustained dent and Senate of five Commissioners, who the motion, and the House sustained the should repair to Kansas, take a census of the Speaker. The report was thereupon presented inhabitants and legal voters, and thereupon pro-and read, consuming a full day. ceed to apportion, during the month of Septem- July 3rd.-The question of reconsidering the ber, 1856, the delegates (52) to form a Consti- vote defeating the Free-Kansas bill was again tutional Convention, to be elected by the legal reached. Mr. Houston, of Alabama, moved that voters aforesaid; said delegates to be chosen it do lie on the table; defeated: Yeas, 97; on the day of the Presidential election (Tues- Nays, 102. The main question was then orderday, Nov. 4th, 1856), and to assemble in Con- ed: Yeas, 101; Nays, 98; and the reconsideravention on the first Monday in December, 1856, tion carried: Yeas, 101; Nays, 99. The previous to form a State Constitution. The bill proposed, question on the passage of the bill was now also, penalties for illegal voting at said election. ordered: Yeas, 99; Nays, 96; a motion by To this substitute-bill, Mr. Dunn, of Indiana, Mr. McQueen, of South Carolina, to lay the bill proposed the following amendment, to come in on the table was defeated: Yeas, 97; Nays, at the end as an additional section: 100; and then the bill was finally passed: Yeas, 99; Nays, 97.
SEC. 18. And be it further enacted, That so much of the fourteenth section and of the thirty-second section of the act passed at the first session of the Thirty-Third Congress, commonly called the Kansas and Nebraska act, as reads as follows: "Except the eighth section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820, which, being inconsistent with the principle of non-intervention by Congress with Slavery in the States and Territories, as recognized by
the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise
Measures, is hereby declared inoperative and void; it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate Slavery into any State or Territory, or to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free
to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to revive or put in force any law or regulation which may have existed prior to the act of 6th of March, 1820, either protecting, establishing, prohibiting, or abolishing Slavery," be, and the same is hereby, rein
to service within
pealed. Povided, That any person or persons lawfully said act shall be discharged from such service, if they shall not be removed and kept out of said Territories within twelve months from the passage of this act.
Mr. Dunn's amendment to the Stephens amendment or substitute, was carried: Yeas, 109; Nays, 102.
Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, moved the recon. sideration of this vote, and that the motion to reconsider do lie on the table, which was permitted, without further division.
June 30th.-Mr. Douglas reported to the Senate on several bills submitted by Messrs. Clayton, Tombs, and others, for the pacification of the Kansas troubles, as also decidedly against Gov. Seward's proposition to admit Kansas as a Free State, under her Topeka Constitution. Mr. Collamer, being the minority of the Territorial Committee, made a brief and Mr. Douglas gave pungent counter-report. notice that he would ask for a final vote on the day after the next.
July 1st.-Bill debated by Messrs. Thompson of Ky., Hale of N. H., Bigler of Pa., Adams of Miss., and Crittenden of Ky.
July 2d.-Debate continued through the day and following night, the majority resisting all motions to adjourn. Messrs. Wade, Pugh, Briggs, Bigler, Toombs, Clayton, Crittenden, Bell, Seward, Hale, and nearly half the Senate
participated. An amendment moved by Mr. Adams, of Miss., the day before, striking out so much of the bill as secures the Right of Suffrage, in the proposed reorganization of Kansas, to alien residents who shall have declared their intention to become citizens, and renounced all allegiance to foreign governments, was adopted: Yeas, 22; Nays, 16.
Some time in the morning of July 3d, the following amendment, reduced to shape by Mr. Geyer, of Mo., was added to the 18th section of the bill-only Brown, of Miss., Fitzpatrick, of Ala., and Mason, of Va., voting against it: Yeas, 40. It provides that
No law shall be made or have force or effect in said Territory [of Kansas] which shall require any attestation or oath to support any act of Congress or other legislative act, as a qualification for any civil office, public trust, or for any employment or profession, or to serve as a juror, or vote at an election, or which shall impose any tax upon, or condition to, the exercise of the right of suffrage, by any qualified voter, or which shall restrain or prohibit the free discussion of any law or subject of legislation in the said Territory, or the free expression of opinion thereon by the people of said Territory.
The Yeas and Nays being ordered, the proposition was voted down-Yeas, 9; Nays,
YEAS.-Messrs. Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Hale. Seward, Trumbull, Wade, and Wilson-9.
NAYS.-Messrs. Adams, Allen, Bayard, Bell of Tennessee, Benjamin, Biggs, Bigler, Bright, Brodhead, Brown, Cass, Clay, Crittenden, Dodge, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Mallory, Pratt, Pugh, Reid, Sebastian, Slidell, Thompson of Kentucky, Toombs, Toucey, Weller Wright, and Yulee-34.
Mr. Trumbull then proposed that the KansasNebraska act
Mr. Trumbull, of Ill., moved the following: And be it further enacted, That it was the true intent and meaning of the act to organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas," not to legislate Slavery into Kansas, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free through their Territorial Legislature to regulate the institution of Slavery in their own way, subject to the Constitution of the United States; and that, until the Territorial Legislature acts upon the subject, the owner of a slave in one of the States has no right or authority to take such slave into the Territory of Kansas, and there hold him as a slave; but every slave taken to the Territory of Kansas by his owner for purposes of settlement is hereby declared to be free, unless there is some valid act of a duly constituted
Rejected: Yeas, 8, (Bell, of New-Hampshire,
Legislative Assembly of said Territory, under which he Collamer, Durkee, Fessenden, Foster, Seward,
may be held as a slave.
Wade, and Wilson ;) Nays, 35.
Mr. Seward moved to strike out the whole
was intended to, and does, confer upon, or leave to, the people of the Territory of Kansas full power, at any time, through its Territorial Legislature, to exclude Slavery from said Territory, or to recognize and regulate it there
patrick, Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Mallory, Mason, Pratt, Pugh, Reid, Sebastian, Slidell,
Wart, Thompson of Kentucky, Toombs, Toucey, Weller,
This, too, was voted down. Mr. Trumbull then proposed the following:
SEC. And be it further enacted, That, until the inhabitants of said Territory shall proceed to hold a Convention to form a State Constitution according to the provisions of this act, and so long as said Territory remains Territory, the following sections contained in chapter one hundred and fifty-one, in the volume transmitted to the Senate, by the President of the United States, as containing the laws of Kansas, be, and the same are hereby, declared to be utterly null and void, viz. :
§ 12. If any free person, by speaking or by writing, as sert or maintain that persons have not the right to hold slaves in this Territory, or shall introduce into this Territory any book, paper, magazine, pamphlet, or circular, containing any dental of the right of persons to hold slaves in this Territory, such persons shall be deemed guilty of felony, and punished by imprisonment at hard labor for a term of not less than two years.
"§ 13. No person who is conscientiously opposed to holding slaves, or who does not admit the right to hold slaves in this Territory, shall sit as a juror on the trial of any prosecution for the violation of any one of the sections of this act."
34-bill, and insert instead one admitting Kansas as a Free State, under the Topeka Constitution: Defeated-Yeas, 11; Nays, 36-as follows:
This, too, was voted down, as follows:
NAYS.-Messrs. Adams, Allen, Bayard, Bell of Tennessee, Benjamin, Biggs, Bigler, Bright, Brodhead, Brown, Cass, Clay, Crittenden, Dodge, Douglas, Evans, Fitz
This was rejected [as superfluous, or covered by a former amendment,] as follows:
YEAS.-Messrs. Allen, Bell of New-Hampshire, Clay. ton, Collamer, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Hale, Seward, Trumbull, Wade, and Wilson-13.
Bright, Bodhead, Brown, Cass, Clay, Dodge, Douglas,
Mr. Wilson, of Massachusetts, moved that the whole bill be stricken out and another inserted instead, repealing all the Territorial laws of Kansas.
The bill was now reported as amended, and the amendment made in Committee of the Whole concurred in. The bill was then (8 A. M.) ordered to be engrossed and read a third time; and, on the question of its final passage, the vote stood-Yeas, 33; Nays, 12--as follows:
YEAS-Messrs. Allen, Bayard, Bell of Tennessee, Ben. And be it further enacted, That all the acts and pro-jamin, Biggs, Bigler, Bright, Brodhead, Brown, Cass, ceedings of all and every body of men heretofore assem- Clay, Crittenden, Douglas, Evans, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, bled in said Territory of Kansas, and claiming to be a Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Mallory, Pratt, Legislative Assembly thereof, with authority to pass laws Pugh, Reid, Sebastian, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson of Ken for the government of said ferritory, are hereby declared tucky, Toombs, Toucey, Weller, Wright, and Yulee-33. to be utterly null and void. And no person shall hold any office, or exercise any authority or jurisdiction in said Territory, under or by virtue of any power or authority derived from such Legislative Assembly; nor shall the members thereof exercise any power or authority as such.
NAYS.-Messrs. Bell of New-Hampshire, Collamer, Dodge, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Hale, Seward, Trumbull, Wade, and Wilson-12.
The bill was then sent to the House. It provides that five competent persons appointed by the President, shall take a census of the legal voters of the Territory on the 4th of July. 1856, these to be apportioned into 52 districts, for the Constitution; it imposes penalties for using purpose of electing delegates to form a State force or threats to influence any qualified voter
in giving his vote, or to deter him from going who may be restrained of his liberty by reason of said to the polls; the delegates elected under this prosecutions, shall be released therefrom without delay. Nor shall there hereafter be instituted any criminal act to assemble in Convention on the 1st Mon-prosecution, in any of the courts of the United States, or day of December, 1856, to first determine by of said Territory, against any person or persons for any vote whether it is expedient to form a State | such charge of treason in said Territory prior to the pas sage of this act, or any violation or disregard of said Constitution and Government, and if it is Legislative enactments at any time. decided to be expedient, to proceed form a Constitution and Government for the State of Kansas, with the boundaries defined in this act. The bill was never acted on in the House, but lay on the Speaker's table, untouched, when the session terminated by adjournment, Monday, Aug. 18th.
July 8th.-In Senate, Mr. Douglas reported back from the Committee on Territories the House bill to admit Kansas as a State, with an amendment striking out all after the enacting clause, and inserting instead the Senate bill (No. 356) just referred to.
Mr. Hale, of N. H., moved to amend this substitute by providing that all who migrate to the Territory prior to July 4th, 1857, shall be entitled to a vote in determining the character of the institutions of Kansas. Lost: Yeas, 13; Nays, 32.
§ 23 grants to every actual settler a right of preemption to the quarter-section of public land improved and occupied by him in said Territory of Kansas, prior to Jan. 1st, 1858.
§ 24. And be it further enacted, That so much of the fourteenth section, and also so much of the thirty-second section, of the act passed at the first session of the thirtythird Congress, commonly known as the Kansas-Nebraska act, as reads as follows, to wit: "Except the eighth section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820, which being inconsistent with the principle of non-intervention by Con gress with Slavery in the States and Territories as recog nized by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures, is hereby declared inoperative and void; it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate Slavery into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people there of perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to revive or put in force any law or regulation which may have existed prior to the act of 6th March, 1820, either protecting, establishing, prohibiting or abolishing slavery"-be and the same is hereby repealed, and the said eighth section of Mr. Collamer, of Vt., proposed an amendment, said act of the 6th of March, 1820, is hereby revived and prohibiting Slavery in all that portion of the declared to be in full force and effect within the said Louisiana purchase north of 36° 30' not in- Territories of Kansas and Nebraska: Provided, however, That any person lawfully held to service in either cluded in the Territory of Kansas. Rejected-of said Territories shall not be discharged from such Yeas, 12; Nays, 30-as follows:
service by reason of such repeal and revival of said eighth section, if such person shall be permanently reFes-moved from such Territory or Territories prior to the 1st day of January, 1858: and any child or children born in either of said Territories, of any female lawfully held to service, if in like manner removed without said Territories before the expiration of that date, shall not be, by reason of anything in this act, emancipated from any service it might have owed had this act never been passed: And provided further, That any person lawfully held to service in any other State or Territory of the United States, and escaping into either the Territory of Kansas or Nebraska, may be reclaimed and removed to
the person or place where such service is due, under any law of the United States which shall be in force upon the subject
$25. And be it further enacted, That all other parts of the aforesaid Kansas-Nebraska act which relate to the said Territory of Kansas, and every other law or usage having, or which is pretended to have, any force or effect in said Territory in conflict with the provisions of the spirit of this act, except such laws of Congress and treaty stipulations as relate to the Indians, are hereby repealed and declared void.
Mr. Trumbull, of Ill., moved that all the Territorial laws of Kansas be repealed and the Territorial officers dismissed. Rejected: Yeas, 12; Nays, 32.
The two last and most important sections of Mr Dunn's bill are verbatim as follows:
YEAS-Messrs. Bell of N. H., Collamer, Dodge, senden, Fish, Foot, Foster, Hale, Hamlin, Seward, Trumbull and Wade. NAYS-Messrs. Adams, Bayard, Benjamin, Biggs, Bright, Brodhead, Butler, Cass, Clay, Crittenden, Douglas, Fitzpatrick, Geyer, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson, Jones of Iowa, Jones of Tenn., Mallory, Mason, Pearce, Pugh, Reid, Sebastian, Slidell, Stuart, Thompson of Ky., Toombs, Weller,
The substitute reported by Mr. Douglas was then agreed to-Yeas, 32; Nays, 13-and the bill in this shape passed.
[This amendment was not concurred in nor ever acted on by the House.]
July 29th.-Mr. Dunn, of Ind., called up a bill "To reorganize the Territory of Kansas and for other purposes," which he had originally (July 7th) proposed as a substitute for the Senate bill (No 356) aforesaid. Its length. and the substantial identity of many of its provisions with those Mr. Dunn, having carried a reference to the of other bills organizing Territories contained Committee of the Whole, of a bill introduced in this volume, dissuade us from quoting it by Mr. Grow, repealing all the acts of the alentire. It provides for a legislative election on leged Territorial Legislature of Kansas. now the first Tuesday in November next; and sec-moved and carried a reconsideration of that tion 15 proceeds:
vote, and proceeded to the striking out of Mr. Grow's bill and the insertion of his own as a substitute. The motion prevailed. Whereupon Mr. Dunn moved the previous question on ordering this bill to be engrossed and read a
§15. And be it further enacted, That all suits, processes, and proceedings, civil and criminal, at law and in chancery, and all indictments and informations which shall be pending and undetermined in the courts of the Territory of Kansas or of New-Mexico, when this act shall take effect, shall remain in said courts where pend-third time, which prevailed-Yeas, 92; Nays, 86
-and then the bill passed-Yeas, 88; Nays, 74.
ing, to be heard, tried, prosecuted, and determined in such courts as though this act had not been passed: Provided, nevertheless, That all criminal prosecutions now pending in any of the courts of the Territory of Kansas imputing to any person or persons the crime of treason and all criminal prosecutions, by information or indictment, against any person or persons for any alleged violation or disregard whatever of what are usually known as the laws of the Legislature of Kansas, shall be forthwith dismissed by the courts where SLCt prosecutions may be pending, and every person
This bill was not acted on by the Senate. The House, in the course of its action on the several Annual Appropriation bills, affixed to several of them, respectively, provisos, abolishing, repealing or suspending the various obnoxious acts of the Territorial Legislature ; but all these were resisted by the Senate and were
ultimately given up by the House, save one | adoption of the Free-State constitution as aforeappropriating $20,000 for the pay and expenses said, had been previously beaten, after prevail. of the next Territorial Legislature, which the ing in the House-the Senate striking them out Senate gave up, on finding itself in serious dis- and the House (by union of nearly all the supagreement with the House, and thus secured porters of Fillmore with nearly or quite all the passage of the Civil Appropriation bill. those supporting Buchanan) finally acquiescing. Finally, the two Houses were at odds, on a pro- The 34th Congress reassembled on the 1st of viso forbidding the employment of the Army to December. Since the adjournment from the enforce the acts of the Shawnee Mission assem-last session the presidential election had taken blage, claiming to be a Territorial Legislature place, resulting in the election of James of Kansas, when at noon on the 18th of Au- Buchanan as President. The popular vote gave gust the speaker's hammer fell, anouncing the neither of the three candidates a majority. In termination of the session, leaving the Army the Free States the election was hotly contested bill unpassed. But President Pierce imme- and a very large vote polled. In the Southern diately issued a proclamation convening an extra States the vote was small, as no issue was presession on the 21st (Thursday), when the two sented to the people, it being claimed by Houses reconvened accordingly, and a full quo- their respective partisans, that both the candirum of each was found to be present. The dates (Buchanan and Fillmore) voted for in House promptly repassed the army bill, again that section were equally Pro-Slavery. But the affixing a proviso forbiding the use of the army pro-slavery leaders had declared in favor of to enforce the disputed Territorial laws, which Buchanan, and he consequently received large proviso the Senate as promptly struck out, and majorities in nearly every Slave State. the House as promptly reinserted. The Senate insisted on its disagreement, but asked no conference, and the House (Aug. 22d) by a close vote decided to adhere to its proviso: Yeas, 97; Nays, 93; but one of the yeas (Bocock of Va.) was so given in order to be able to move a reconsideration; so that the true division was 96 to 94, which was the actual division on a motion by Mr. Cobb of Ga. that the House recede from its position. Finally, a motion to reconsider was made and laid on the table; Yeas, 97; Nays, 96; and the House thereupon adjourned.
On the first day of the session, Kansas affairs came up in the House on an objection to admit J. W. Whitfield to a seat as a delegate, the objection being that the border ruffian laws under which he had been elected were "null and void."
Aug. 23d.-The Senate also voted to adhere: Yeas, 35; Nays, 9.
Mr. Clayton proposed a committee of Conference, to which Mr. Seward objected. tion.
No acproposed Objected Mr. Cobb, of Ga., moved that the House recede from its Kansas proviso. Defeated: Yeas, 97; Nays, 100. Adjourned.
The struggle for the passage of the bill with or without the proviso continued until Saturday, August 30th, when, several members, hostile to the proviso, and hitherto absent, unpaired, having returned, the House again passed the Army bill with the proviso modified as follows: Provided, however, that no part of the military force of the United States, for the support of which appropriations are made by this act, shall be employed in aid of the enforcement of any enactments heretofore made by the body claiming to be the Territorial Legislature
In the House, Mr. Campbell, of Ohio, a similiar Committee of Conference.
The bill passed as reported (under the Previous Question): Yeas, 99; Nays, 79; and was sent to the Senate, where the above proviso was stricken out: Yeas, 26; Nays, 7; and the bill thus returned to the House, when the ate's amendment was concurred in: Yeas, 101; Nays, 97.
Mr. Grow spoke against admitting Whitfield, and quoted from a speech of Mr. Clayton (a short time before his decease) in the Senate. Mr. Clayton, in speaking of these laws, said:
not to repeal that!
Sir, let us tender to the House of Representatives the repeal of that and all other objectionable and infamous this denunciation, without any hesitation, those acts laws that were passed by that Legislature. I include in which prescribe that a man shall not even practice law in the Territory unless he swears to support the Fugitive a member of the Legislature, unless he swears to support Slave Law; that he shall not vote at any election, or be the Fugitive Slave Law; that he shall not hold any office of honor or trust there, unless he swears to support the Fugitive Slave Law; and you may as well impose just such a test oath for any other and every other law.. I will not go through the whole catalogue of the oppres sive laws of this Territory. I have done that before today. There are others as bad as these to which I have now referred. I will not, on the other hand, ever degrade myself by standing for an instant by those abominable and infamous laws which I denounced of the United States shall wash its hands of all participahere this morning. What I desire now is, that the Senate Sen-tion in these iniquities by repealing those laws.
So the proviso was beaten at last, and the bill passed, with no restriction on the President's discretion in the use of the Army in Kansas; just as all attempts of the House to direct the President to have a nolle prosequi entered in the case of the Free-State prisoners in Kansas charged with aiding the formation and
Now, sir, let me allude to that subject which is the great cause of all this discord between the two Houses. The unjust, iniquitous, oppressive and infamous laws to be repealed before we adjourn." enacted by the Kansas Legislature, as it is called, ought
What are these laws? One of them sends a man to hard labor for not less than two years for daring to discuss in Kansas: not less than two years-it may be fifty; and the question whether Slavery exists, or does not exist, if a man could live as old as Methuselah, it might be over nine hundred years. That act prohibits all freedom ferred to the exclusive decision of the people in that of discussion in Kansas on the great subject directly reTerritory; strikes down the liberty of the press too; and is an act egregiously tyrannical as ever was attempted gland, and this Senate persists in declaring that we are by any of the Stuarts, Tudors or Plantagenets of En
On Dec. 2nd, President Pierce sent his annual message to the two Houses of Congress. In re ferring to the late election, the President says: which, by their recent political action, the people of the It is impossible to misapprehend the great principles United States have sanctioned and announced.
They have asserted the Constitutional equality of each and all of the States of the Union as States; they have affirmed the constitutional equality of each and all of the citizens of the United States as citizens, whatever
their religion, wherever their birth, or their residence; | problems of social institutions, political economy, and they have maintained the inviolability of the constitutional rights of the different sections of the Union; and they have proclaimed their devoted and unalterable attachment to the Union and the Constitution, as objects of interest superior to all subjects of local or sectional controversy, as the safeguard of the rights of all as the spirit and true essence of the liberty, peace, and greatness of the Republic.
In doing this, they have, at the same time, emphatically condemned the idea of organizing in these United States mere geographical parties; of marshalling in hostile array towards each other the different parts of the country, North or South, East or West.
Schemes of this nature, fraught with incalculable mischief, and which the considerate sense of the people has rejected, could have had countenance in no part of the country, had they not been disguised by suggestions plausible in appearance, acting upon an excited state of the public mind, induced by causes temporary in their character, and it is to be hoped transient in their influ
statesmanship, they treat with unreasonable intemperance of thought and language. Extremes beget extremes. Violent attack from the North finds its inevitable consequence in the growth of a spirit of angry defiance at the South. Thus, in the progress of events, we had reached the consummation which the voice of the people has now so pointedly rebuked, of the attempt of a portion of the States, by a sectional organization and movement, to usurp the control of the Government of the United States.
I confidently believe that the great body of those who inconsiderately took this fatal step are sincerely attached to the Constitution and the Union. They would, upon deliberation, shrink with unaffected horror from any conscious act of disunion or civil war. But they have entered into a path which leads nowhere, unless it be to civil war and disunion, and which has no other possible outlet. They have proceeded thus far in that direction in consequence of the successive stages of their progress having consisted of a series of secondary issues, each of which professed to be confined within constitutional and peaceful limits, but which attempted indirectly what few men were willing to do directly; that is, to act aggressively against the constitutional rights of nearly one-half of the thirty-one States.
graphical line, was acquiesced in, rather than approved, The enactment which established the restrictive geoby the States of the Union. It stood on the statute-book, respective States acquiesced in the reënactment of the however, for a number of years; and the people of the principle as applied to the State of Texas; and it was proposed to acquiesce in its further application to the But this proposition was successfully resisted by the reterritory acquired by the United States from Mexico. presentatives from the Northern States, who, regardless of the statute line, insisted upon applying restriction to the new territory generally, whether lying north or south of it, thereby repealing it as a legislative compromise, and, on the part of the North, persistently violating the compact, if compact there was.
Perfect liberty of association for political objects and the widest scope of discussion are the received and ordinary conditions of government in our country. Our institutions, framed in the spirit of confidence in the intelligence and integrity of the people, do not forbid citizens, either individually or associated together, to attack by writing, speech, or any other methods short of physical force, the Constitution and the very existence of the Union. Under the shelter of this great liberty, and protected by the laws and usages of the government they assail, associations have been formed in some of the States, of individuals who, pretending to seek only to prevent the spread of the institution of Slavery into the present or future inchoate States of the Union, are really inflamed with desire to change the domestic institutions of existing States. To accomplish their objects, they dedicate themselves to the odious task of depreciating the Government organization which stands in their way; and of calumniating, with indiscriminating invective, not only the citizens of particular States, with whose laws they find fault, but all others of their fellow-citizens throughout the country, who do not participate with them in their assaults upon the Constitution, framed and adopted by our fathers, and claiming for the privileges It has secured, and the blessings it has conferred, the steady support and grateful reverence of their children. They seek an object which they well know to be a revolutionary one. They are perfectly aware that the change in the relative condition of the white and black races in the slaveholding States, which they would promote, is beyond their lawful authority; that to them it is a foreign object; that it cannot be effected by any peaceful instrumentality of theirs; that for them, and the States of which they are citizens, the only path to its accomplishment is through burning cities, and ravaged fields, and slaughtered populations, and all there is most terrible in foreign, complicated with civil and servile war; and that the first step in the attempt is the forcible dis-power to impose restrictions of this character upon any ruption of a country embracing in its broad Bosom a present or future State of the Union. In a long series of degree of liberty, and an amount of individual and pub- decisions, on the fullest argument, and after the most lic prosperity to which there is no parallel in history, deliberate consideration, the Supreme Court of the United and substituting in its place hostile governments, driven States had finally determined this point in every form at once and inevitably into mutual devastation and under which the question could arise, whether as affecting fratricidal carnage, transforming the now peaceful and public or private rights-in questions of the public dofelicitous brotherhood into a vast permanent camp of main, of religion, of navigation, and of servitude. armed men, like the rival monarchies of Europe and Asia. Well knowing that such, and such only, are the means and the consequences of their plans and purposes, they endeavor to prepare the people of the United States for civil war by doing everything in their power to deprive the Constitution and the laws of moral authority, and to undermine the fabric of the Union by appeals to passion and sectional prejudice, by indoctrinating its people with reciprocal hatred, and by educating them to stand face to face as enemies, rather than shoulder to shoulder as friends.
in any sense, whether as respects the North or the South; Thereupon, this enactment ceased to have binding virtue and so in effect it was treated on the occasion of the admission of the State of California, and the organization of the Territories of New Mexico, Utah and Washington.
Such was the state of this question when the time arrived for the organization of the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska. In the progress of constitutional inquiry and reflection, it had now at length come to be seen clearly that Congress does not possess constitutional
The several States of the Union are, by force of the Constitution, coequal in domestic legislative power. Congress cannot change a law of domestic relation in the State of Maine: no more can it in the State of Missouri. Any statute which proposes to do this is a mere nullity; it takes away no right, it confers none. If it remains on the statute-book unrepealed, it remains there only as a monument of error, and a beacon of warning to the legislator and the statesman. To repeal it will be only to remove imperfection from the statutes, without affecting, either in the sense of permission or of prohibition, the action of the States, or of their citizens.
In the long series of acts of indirect aggression, the first was the strenuous agitation, by citizens of the Northern States, in Congress and out of it, of the question of negro emancipation in the Southern States.
In reference to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and the legislative power of Congress over the Territories, the President says:
It is by the agency of such unwarrantable interference, foreign and domestic, that the minds of many, otherwise good citizens, have been so inflamed into the passionate condemnation of the domestic institutions of the Southern States, as at length to pass insensibly to almost equally passionate hostility toward their fellow-citizens of those States, and thus, finally, to fall into the temporary fellowship with the avowed and active enemies of the Constitution. Ardently attached to liberty in the abstract, they do not stop to consider practically how the objects they would attain can be accomplished, nor to reflect
On the motion to print the Message and ac
that, even if the evil were as great as they deem it, they companying documents, Mr. Hale, of N. H., have no remedy to apply, and that it can be only aggra-said: vated by their violence and unconstitutional action. A question which is one of the most difficult of all the
I look on the message of the President as a most un
Still, when the nominal restriction of this nature, already a dead letter in law, was in terms repealed by the last Congress, in a clause of the act organizing the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska, that repeal was made the occasion of a wide spread and dangerous agitation.
It was alleged that the original enactment being a compact of perpetual moral obligation, its repeal constituted an odious breach of faith.